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More Marketing Ideas For Consultants

"How To Pick The Clients
You Want To Work With
And Make More Money"

By Bob and Shirley Hanson

These marketing ideas for consultants are adapted from
"The Marketing Energizer Ezine For Consultants
And Other Independent Professionals"
copyright 2000

"When we survey clients and consultants, we find that there is an ongoing conflict between what clients want and what many consultants sell. The majority of consultants are focused on selling hours and the processes that they use. The majority of clients want a specific result, not a process."

Peter Meyer
author, speaker, consultant

Get The Results You Want And Deserve

"Results" is a theme throughout Peter Meyer's new book. He shows you "ways to present a result and get the rewards for doing that." The rewards are "clients whom you want, and who strongly want a solution from you." The rewards can be higher fees, too.

Forget for a minute that Peter Meyer's book is called "Getting
Started In Computer Consulting."

It's not just for computer consultants. It's filled with marketing ideas for knowledge management consultants, healthcare consultants, web consultants, and. . . every other kind of consultant.

And it's valuable for seasoned pros as well as start-up consultants.

In his book Peter looks at three ways consultants can "systematize" fees:

1) Hours per year (taking what you want to make and dividing
it by the hours you expect to bill for a year)

A risk with this process is that "many clients will not be comfortable with lower rates. They will choose a higher-priced consultant just because that consultant fits their idea of a good risk. Your price creates a perception," Peter said.

2) Competitive analysis (pricing to competition)

"When you make the decision to price to market, you are
deciding to let someone else run your practice," Peter said.

3) The Seven-Step Process

The advantages of the Seven Step Process are:

- "These practitioners are the highest paid group. They make more per hour and year."

- "The consultants who use the process are more likely to be able to pick the clients they want."

- "The third benefit is that (based on surveys) these... consultants have clients who are more satisfied. That leads to happier consultants."

We're excited about the chance to introduce you to "The Seven-
Step Process for Pricing" and the marketing ideas we found there. For our first printed newsletter for consultants (years ago in "The Insiders' Marketing Guide For Consultants") we interviewed Peter about this process.

We were making costly sales mistakes such as "driving to solution" -- trying to push our solution on prospects without truly understanding their unique problems and needs. We floundered without a proven sales framework to guide us.

Happily, once we tried out the Seven-Step Process, we were better able to adjust our selling to match our prospects' unique needs.
We didn't have to guess or fall back on trying to "sell" them
what we thought they needed.

And we closed deals that wouldn't have been possible without it.

One of our first attempts at using the Seven-Step Process led to
an extraordinary project. The business owner simply took over
during the "design session" and made the project his own.

This opportunity never would have been ours if we had come into the meeting with preconceptions about the marketing ideas our prospect should act on.

And, perhaps best of all, as we experimented with the marketing ideas within the process, our sales anxiety plummeted.

The seven-step process encompasses:

1. Prospecting

Peter begins the process with three questions:

- Does your prospect have a problem that is important enough that he or she will take immediate action?

- Can you help them to solve that problem?

- Do you really want to work with this person?

If you answer no to any question, stop right here.

2. First Meeting (introductory meeting)

The first meeting is for listening and moving the process forward.

"If you want to be perceived as being self-centered, talk about your own products and services," Peter said in an earlier interview.

3. Surveying the Stakeholders

"Here you are working inside the prospect's organization to understand what needs to be done. That might include a day or several days of interviewing employees and even customers.

"If there is a problem to be solved, this is the time to make sure you touch each stakeholder and get them to tell you what that problem is from their own perspective.

"You need to earn the right to make suggestions and ask money for it. You earn it by listening and understanding," Peter said in an interview for "The Insiders' Marketing Guide For Consultants."

In your situation, a different survey process may be in order, especially when you are working with smaller clients.

4. Design Session

The design session is a group process. It works best if all the relevant decision makers in your prospect company are present.

"As a group you prioritize the problems," Peter said, "and as a group you decide what the best mix of solutions will be. Rarely will you have the total answer. Whenever you think you do, you are probably headed for a disaster."

5. Propose and Close

"If you do a design session really well, the proposal can be matter of fact and anticlimactic," Peter said.

All you need to do is reflect accurately the outcome of your design session in your proposal, and as Peter shows, this can be done in a page-and-a-half at most. No long litany of how great you are. No week's worth of work to put together a huge binder of material.

6. Contracts

This, too, is short and to the point. You don't want anything to slow down the momentum you gained in your design session.

7. Follow Up And The Next Contract

This is when you check in and ask if your client is happy. You focus on his or her success.

And you ask about the next step the client is planning. With the 7 step process and your equally client-focused consulting engagement you are well placed to become part of solving the next problem.

You'll find more marketing ideas and the specific details and tactics you need to carry out each of the seven steps in "Getting Started In Computer Consulting."

Peter Meyer's book with many more shrewd, savvy, street-smart marketing ideas is at

Hanson Marketing Group, Inc.
Certified Professional Consultant to Management
8011 Navajo Street, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Phone: 215-753-2620 Fax: 215-753-9223

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